For 19 hours, volunteers and staff members answered ringing phones during the WBBM Good Neighbor Radiothon benefitting The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division’s youth programs and services for children in need.
In addition to youth programs, funds raised will also support emergency assistance programs which provide rent, food, clothing, utility assistance and shelter to those families in crisis.
Spurred on by generous matching gifts from lead sponsors Jewel Osco and State Farm, as well as other corporate partners in caring, donors opened their hearts and their wallets to raise more than $250,000.
During the day, WBBM radio listeners heard stories from clients served through many programs including music education, after-school activities, tutoring, Head Start and more. Eunice Fleming and her son, Kimani, shared the importance the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center had in their lives. All corps community centers provide children a safe haven and an alternative to get kids off the streets, safe from violence and out of harm’s way.
“The Salvation Army brought me hope,” Kimani said. He added that without the support and after-school programs, he would not be enjoying the academic success which provided him an opportunity for a culinary internship this summer.
Lt. Colonel Ralph Bukiewicz, Salvation Army Metropolitan Divisional Commander, shared his experience with The Salvation Army as a young boy when the people in the “funny suits” came to his home and provided the family with gifts and food.
Representatives from Jewel Osco were on hand in the early evening to talk about the company’s partnership with The Salvation Army through several initiatives including a coat drive, food distribution program, and of course, the iconic red kettles. Jewel Osco also presented a check for $100,000.
The Salvation Army music programs – The Salvation Army Brass Ensemble, Volta School Ensemble, Kroc Corps Singing Company, Harbor Light Youth Hip Hop Group and the Madison Street Choir – provided the musical entertainment throughout the day.